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Christopher Magryta: Prepare children for winter in 2020

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the newsletter of Dr. Christopher Magryta, who works at Salisbury Pediatrics.

By Christopher Magryta

Winter is beginning in many parts of the country. This is a uniquely different year as winter is associated with fear of COVID and indoor activities. Those realities exist, but we must maintain our eye on all preparation measures for a healthy winter.

What are the winter related concerns for kids?

• Make sure that they are getting adequate vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin meaning that it stores for a period of time in fat cells.

Generally most people begin to wane in their D levels early in the winter when it is very hard to get adequate D from the sun. I recommend daily supplementation based on blood levels. Vitamin D and K combinations are the best based on current data. Cod liver oil and oily fish are a good source of omega 3 fats and vitamin D. Vitamin D also happens to be very useful for immune enhancement and is protective for COVID19.

• Stay warm but don’t sweat the shorts. Kids often underdress in the winter. The rule of thumb should always be that they bring a coat along to keep warm in case of a chill or sudden change in temperature. Alternatively, I am a huge fan of layering your upper body with Under Armor, Stoic or similar clothing for core warmth. With three layers and a thin shell ski jacket, I can handle below zero easily. Gone are the days of thick sweaters. Outdoor Research sells amazingly warm gloves for a reasonable price point.

• Keep them moving! Cold weather often encourages only indoor sedentary activity. Send them out to play with appropriate clothes and get them active. Play with them outdoors to lead by example. Social distancing is a much easier task to complete outside. Take a weekend hike. Most kids are out of major sports, except basketball and wrestling. Family hikes are a great way to bond and exercise together. Check out Crowder Mountain, Grandfather Mountain or Du Pont State Park for amazing hikes.

• Drink lots of water to stay hydrated in the dry arid winter. Hydrating your mucous membranes with saline sprays will help prevent infections from taking hold in your nose and mouth. Hydration will also prevent the winter nose bleed. If your child suffers from nose bleeds in the winter, consider applying a thin layer of Vaseline to the fist half-centimeter of both nostrils. This can help to protect the friable skin.

For more from Magryta, visit salisburypediatrics.com/patient-education/dr-magryta-s-newsletter.

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